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Submitted by: WISE Cleveland member | 6-15 years professional experience
I'm interested in working in sports overseas. I've reached a level in my career where there's not much upward opportunity and I'd like to gain some different experiences as my career progresses, even if it was just for a year or two. How do you suggest I present myself and my goals to foreign teams, associations, etc., as a potential temporary employee (but not an intern)?
Spending time working overseas is something I would highly recommend. You grow and learn - both personally and professionally - by living in another country as you are thrown into living and working in an environment that is completely foreign to what you know.
The first thing you need to do is target which country you want to work in and research the type of work visa you would need. If you are under 30, many countries provide two-year work visas that are easy to get. Once you are over 30, you will need a company to sponsor your visa. As every country is different, investigate the visa requirement so that you can make it easy for your target team/company. Be prepared for rejection based solely on your need for a visa; many companies simply don’t want the hassle of applying for one, even though the process is often simple.
Once you’ve resolved the work visa situation, find out if anyone in your network can introduce you to your target organization(s). An introduction will help enormously. If you have no connections, then get on the phone or e-mail to make that connection. LinkedIn can be a great tool to find the right people. You should also keep in mind that a foreign team is highly unlikely to hire you from the U.S., so consider making appointments and then visiting that country ahead of time to meet with them. Can you base yourself there for a few months in order to help with your job search? That, realistically, is going to be the best way to find something unless you have a referral who can clear the path for you.
Approach each meeting as you would any interview. Research the team and the sport (especially if it is one not played in the U.S.), and the league/association they compete in. If you are considering only doing this for a year or two, keep in mind that most companies do not want to make that kind of investment hiring someone who is not going to stay long. Some teams may have short-term contracts, but most likely, the roles will be regular long-term roles. Be prepared to demonstrate how the experience you have - even if it is in another sport - can benefit them.
Finally, if they do offer you a job, have the visa paperwork ready to make the move and start. Research consulate appointment times to ensure you do not have to wait for more than a month before you are allowed to work. Again, remember that if it seems like it is going to be a hassle to hire you, they won’t.
About Jane Hollman
Jane Hollman has more than 25 years experience in senior human resources roles at large multinationals and sports across Asia Pacific and the United States. Currently a career coach, she helps business leaders and university students think through their career paths. Hollman is passionate about creating flexible, innovative work places and mentors women looking to start their own businesses. She is also a freelance writer covering the business of sports for publications such as Women Talking Sports.
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